With Makaton, signs are used with speech in spoken word order. Using
signs can help people who have no speech or whose speech is unclear.
Research has shown that signs and gestures are easier to learn than
spoken words. This makes sense. Babies use gestures before they can
speak, to tell us what they want. For example, they might point at the
biscuit tin or hold out their arms to be lifted up. Children and adults
can use Makaton to let others know what they want, make choices, share
information and understand more. This helps build and develop important
communication and language skills.
Symbols can be used to support communication in many different ways.
Using symbols can help people who have limited speech and those who
cannot or prefer not to sign.
If a child has to rely on speech development alone, these vital
skills may not develop properly: eye contact, turn taking, making
choices, understanding, and sharing information.
Children and adults who have difficulty understanding and speaking
often become frustrated or withdrawn. Young children may communicate
this through behaviours such as screaming and kicking; older children
and adults may shout or hurt themselves. By using Makaton, we are
helping them to communicate in a more acceptable way.